East Ham fraudster spent £176k on Manchester City winger's bank card
Tom Pilgrim, PA
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
A 32-year-old man has admitted fraudulently using a bank card belonging to Manchester City football star Riyad Mahrez on casino visits and trip to Ibiza.
Mohamed Sharif, of Derby Road, East Ham, admitted a single count of fraud at Snaresbrook Crown Court on December 9.
Mr Mahrez's bank was forced to reimburse him £175,830 after a card the player never received was used to make purchases for hotels, with airline Jet2, at a nail salon and in restaurants.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed the victim of the scam was the City winger.
In August 2017, when Mr Mahrez was playing for Leicester City, an individual called his bank requesting a replacement card, according to information provided by the CPS.
The card from Barclays Bank was not sent to the player's address and Mr Mahrez did not receive it.
Transactions made with the card in August and September 2017 included meals at restaurant chain Nando's as well as payments for hotels and at a nail salon.
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It was used to make purchases on a Jet2 flight and money was spent on the Spanish island of Ibiza, including at the Nikki Beach venue.
The card's usage was cross-referenced with CCTV at cashpoints in Stratford and The Haymarket shopping centre in Leicester, which showed Sharif withdrawing money about 10 times.
The CPS said that in interview Sharif said he was not the person who called the bank claiming to be Mr Mahrez, and that he did not receive the credit card sent out, but was given it by others.
He admitted using the card in Leicester and at Aspers Casino in Westfield Stratford City, as well as on a flight to Ibiza.
His prepared statement suggested coercion in the use of the card, the CPS said.
Sharif is due to submit a fuller basis of plea outlining what he accepts as his spending.
Mr Mahrez signed for Manchester City for £60million in the summer of 2018, two years after winning the Premier League title with Leicester City.
Sharif is due to be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court by Judge Laurence West-Knights QC on February 25.